Why Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn will be relegated from the Premier League this season

At the time of writing, Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn prop up the Premier League table. Here is why they will find themselves in the same position at the end of the season.

Wigan Athletic (P26, W4, D8, L14, F23, A50, Pts-20)
Averaging less than a goal a game, it is clear that while manager Roberto Martinez insists on playing a slick-passing, ‘ball-on-the-deck’ style of football, his players have struggled to do so against teams in the Premier League. As I don’t support Wigan, I don’t feel at all bad in saying this: I would rather they were in the Championship. I would be much more likely to tune in to watch their manager’s footballing philosophy translate onto the pitch against weaker opposition.

As well as being the league’s lowest scorers, they also have the worst goal difference (-27), so it is little surprise that they are the bookies’ favourites for the drop at 1/3. Can Martinez’ team beat the odds yet again?

Bolton Wanderers (P26, W6, D2, L18, F29, A54, Pts-20)
Remember at the end of last season when Owen Coyle was being tipped as Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal? Such talk was quickly hushed as it became apparent Bolton were not quite as good as everyone thought they were and that championing a relatively unproven manager so early in his career was premature.

It used to be that the Reebok Stadium was a fearsome arena where the so-called big teams usually found themselves in a tough, physical game. Under Coyle this season, though, they conceded 13 goals in their home game defeats against Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.

Having conceded 54 league goals in total, they have the second worst defensive record behind Blackburn (59), which emphasises just how much they have missed and will miss their former star centre-back Gary Cahill, who moved in January for £7 million to Chelsea.

Blackburn Rovers (P26, W5, D6, L15, F37, A59, Pts-21)
As the saying goes, the team who are bottom of the league at Christmas gets relegated at the end of the season. This is a bad omen for Blackburn, who found themselves rooted to the foot of the table two months ago. This ‘relegation rule’ has been the case since the Premier League began in 1992, with the exception of West Bromwich Albion’s ‘great escape’ in 2004-2005.

They might have conceded the most league goals this season, but to Blackburn’s credit, and mostly thanks to the form of Yakubu, the only teams to have scored more than them are the teams that currently make up the top six (Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle). That said, it’s hard for a team to get positive results when they are conceding on average two goals per game, and that is what will ultimately prove to be their downfall.

As for the other relegation contenders…

Queens Park Rangers (P26, W5, D6, L15, F27, A45, Pts-21)
It hasn’t quite happened yet for Mark Hughes at QPR. On paper, they seemed like the promoted club who had the best chance of surviving in the Premier League – they had made a few good signings, had free-spending owners and had won the Championship the year before. However, Norwich and Swansea have just about reached that magic 40-point mark, while Hughes’ team are just one point from the bottom of the league. Simply put, I feel they will beat the drop because they have better players (namely Barton, Wright-Phillips, Taarabt and new signings Zamora and Cisse) than the teams who currently sit below them.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (P26, W5, D7, L14, F30, A51, Pts-22)
Following Mick McCarthy’s sacking, assistant manager has Terry Connor taken over as manager till the end of the season. Despite clearly not being the board’s first choice for the job, he will take heart from his team’s showing in their 2-2 draw away at Newcastle (having trailed 2-0 at half-time). If striker Steven Fletcher can maintain his great form till the end of the season, they will have enough experience and firepower to see them avoid the drop. Just. Again.

Aston Villa (P26, W6, D11, L9, F29, A34, Pts-29)
If Newcastle United’s relegation in the 2008-2009 season taught us anything, it was that no team is too big to go down. ‘Sleeping giants’ Villa have been pretty uninspiring this season, with fans becoming increasing disenchanted with manager Alex McLeish’s perceived negative tactics. The Premier League’s draw specialists have a tough run in, with games against five of the top seven teams to come, and Darren Bent’s recent injury is far from ideal, but with 29 precious points to their name already, they should – just about – have what it takes to survive.

Do you agree or disagree with James’ selections? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment and don’t forget to follow@gdfeet4abigman on Twitter.

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11 Responses to Why Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn will be relegated from the Premier League this season

  1. Mariscalcus says:

    interesting analysis. However, there is one statistic that points to QPR making the drop. Since the start of the Premiership, every year but one at least one of the teams that came up went straight back down again. The exception was the 01/02 season. One can assume that Swansea and Norwich are safe for this year at least. That makes QPR the team to keep this run going.

    • James says:

      The teams battling the drop really need their strikers to pitch in with the goals in the last few games of the season. With Cisse, Zamora, Mackie and Bothroyd as options up front, I reckon QPR should have what it takes.

  2. rej says:

    “Having conceded 54 league goals in total, they have the second worst defensive record behind Blackburn (59), which emphasises just how much they have missed and will miss their former star centre-back Gary Cahill, who moved in January for £7 million to Chelsea”

    Absolute garbage statement! we conceded most of them goals with Cahill in the team

  3. rej says:

    I never said that he was….your heading states why Bolton will be relegated this season, the only effective reason you gave was the departure of Gary Cahill. I can think of half a dozen reasons why we could be relegated this season and thats not one of them.

    • James says:

      Three reasons, actually.

      1) Bolton’s home record under Coyle is hardly an enviable one.
      2) Their defensive record this season is horrendous.
      3) They’ve just lost their best player.

      And I forgot to mention that they don’t have a prolific goalscorer…

      What are your ‘half a dozen’ reasons why they won’t go down?

  4. rej says:

    6 Reasons why we COULD go down,

    1,2)The First two what you mentioned, I dont agree with the third..IMO Nigel Rio Coker has been our best player this season.

    3)Injuries to 2 of our key players (Holden and Chung Lee) would have been a different story if they would have been fit

    4)Poor tactics, playing a formation that doesnt deliver… favouring 4.4.2 over 4.5.1 when the latter reaps the better results and performances.

    5) inconsistent/poor individual performances, Paul Robinson is a prime example….so many goals came from his flank it was embarrassing! Chris Eagles is hit and miss usually miss when we need hit. We need everyone to knuckle down and it doesnt seem to be happening…..YET
    6) We are missing a bit of lady luck, Ok bit lame this one but some of the decision against us this season particularary in the first half have bordered on laughable, we are already thin on the ground and stupid red card decisions(and we`ve had a few) dont help.

    Ultimately my point is Gary Cahill wouldnt have kept us up should we go down.

    • James says:

      As a fan, you probably know better than I do, but I don’t think Bolton have a striker who is good enough to lead the line on his own… Davies is past his best, Klasnic is better with a strike partner to play off and N’Gog isn’t physically strong enough. Perhaps you’re right about the formation – five across the midfield would be much tougher to break down than four.

      I agree with you about Chris Eagles – he seems brilliant one game, then he’s anonymous the next. Surely, though, as a Wanderers fan, you’d rather Cahill was at Bolton than Chelsea?

  5. rej says:

    Course I would, hate to see any decent player leave… but he wasnt the be all and end all of our season.

  6. WAFCFAN says:

    Wigan will give staying up a good go… every year people like these jokers rule them out before a ball has been kicked. They were wrong before and they will be wrong again!

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